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Journal of Literary Semantics

An International Review

Founded by Eaton, Trevor

Ed. by Toolan, Michael

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.44

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.182
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.764

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Volume 43, Issue 2 (Sep 2014)


Language shifts in free indirect discourse

Emar Maier
Published Online: 2014-08-13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2014-0010


Free indirect discourse is a way of reporting what a protagonist thinks or says that is distinct from both direct and indirect discourse. In particular, while pronouns and tenses are presented from the narrator's perspective, as in indirect discourse, other indexical and expressive elements reflect the protagonist's point of view, as in direct discourse. In this paper I discuss a number of literary examples of free indirect discourse in which the narrator slips into the language, dialect or idiolect of the protagonist. I argue that the leading formal semantic analyses of free indirect discourse, which rely on semantic context shifting, fail to account for such language shifts. I then present an alternative account that treats free indirect discourse as a form of mixed quotation.

Keywords: free indirect discourse; formal semantics; direct vs. indirect discourse; quotation; context shift; dialect; narrative

About the article

Published Online: 2014-08-13

Published in Print: 2014-09-01

Citation Information: Journal of Literary Semantics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3838, ISSN (Print) 0341-7638, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jls-2014-0010.

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©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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